Friday, July 04, 2008

Burn in Hell You Motherfucker: Jesse Helms, 1921 - 2008


Five term senator and enemy of blacks, gays and every body in the world who didn’t look and act like him, -Jesse Helms, has just died today on Captain America’s birthday. It’s 10:07 AM and I will now order in champagne and the strongest, most foreign-smelling Indian food I can select from the menu to celebrate.

Happy Birthday America, I can think of no finer present that the fat, rotting corpse of Jesse Helms.

In my lifetime there’s been a long rogue’s gallery of demagogues and political players abusing our Republic’s trust or in many cases flouting its laws while persecuting or defrauding the American people for their own self interests: Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Ronald Reagan, Karl Rove, Ralph Reed, Pat Robertson, David Duke, Paul Wolfowitz… and then there was Jesse Helms.

Good God I hated everything that little creep did, said, and stood for. I’m glad Satan is finally calling that little shit home to the fiery perdition where he belongs. And incidentally, fuck Bono of U2. You never, EVER shake hands with an asshole who supported and aggressively defended segregation.

Let’s take a look at his career:
Jesse Helms opposed integration efforts in North Carolina before even going into politics as a candidate, writing for newspapers. He began his political career as a Democrat. Helms worked the 1960 Democratic primary gubernatorial campaign of I. Beverly Lake, who ran with racial segregation as a central point of his campaign. Many of us have forgotten that I. Beverly Lake was eventually defeated by Terry Sanford (Look it up, it’s a fascinating moment in history and check out a documentary that was aired on PBS a couple of years ago called “Terry Sanford and the New South”)
By 1972, Helms, already disgusted and feeling betrayed by the actions of former President Lyndon Johnson, and the subsequent federal mandates on integration, ran as a Republican for the Senate. His opponent was Congressman Nick Galifianakis of Durham North Carolina. Helms openly engaged in race baiting during the campaign. He ran under the slogan:
"Vote for Helms! He's One of Us!"
Now Galifianakis was from Durham, but nobody gave a shit.
Jesse Helms became the first Republican elected to Senate from North Carolina in the 20th century. He’d never lose again, retiring of his own volition due to failing health. It is an embarrassment that this relic of the old racist patrician South was allowed to retire and was never voted out by the people.
…But I also remember Jesse Helms’ staunch leadership. Senator Jesse Helms led the Senatorial opposition to the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday in 1983. For me, as a fifteen year old, it was stunning to realize there were still old bitter men who wanted to pretend the Civil war and the events of the 1960s had never happened.
In 1990 and in 1996, Helms defended his seat and campaigned against Harvey Gantt, the former mayor of Charlotte, an African American. I was in my last year of college in 1990 and I’ll never forget the national coverage on Nightline and other late night news programs of the Helms commercial that urged white voters to reject Gantt because of affirmative action programs. The ad showed a white man's hands tearing up a rejection letter from an imaginary company that stated it had not hired him due to its affirmative action policies that forced them to give his job to a "less qualified minority". Expect this kind of bullshit to make a strong comeback in November 2008.

Hey, thanks Geraldine Ferraro! Your check from the John Birch Society is in the mail!

Then there was his assault on the NEA in the late eighties and early 1990s. It was the first time I ever heard the words “Chill Effect”. He essentially undid much of Adam Clayton Powell Jr.'s work in bolstering some mechanism that would support the arts in the United States, like our smarter, saner neighbors to the North in Canada do with their government-run film and arts grants boards. He attempted to attack the NEA by citing that taxpayer dollars were going to artists like Robert Mapplethorpe and Andre Serrano. The core issue of course was never taxes, as the NEA’s portion of our tax dollars is some tiny fraction of a single penny. The intended result was an NEA that avoids controversy, social-political work, which is to say that they avoid funding a lot of art, especially work that is critical of the powers that be. It is a chill effect that radiated across all not for profits and even media outlets like PBS. I still see the results of Jesse Helms’ attack on freedom in the arts every day, everywhere I look.
In his spare time on the Senate floor, Jesse Helms opposed funding for AIDS for years, finally relenting in 2002, probably feeling his own death coming after all of his increasing illnesses. He is in no small part responsible for the deaths of millions by his staunch obstruction, clearly inspired by his hatred of homosexuals. Ironically, as so often happens with bigots, Helms' own granddaughter, the Honorable Jennifer Knox, is a lesbian. She is a Judge in North Carolina; curiously, she is also a Republican.
Outside of protecting big tobacco, there is simply not one good thing I can say of this man…
-oh wait… that’s right, big tobacco makes cigarettes.

Tonight I’ll watch the fireworks and think of you Jesse Helms.
I’ll think of you burning in hell.
-SJ

"Our constituency aren't the type of people to be on the Internet." -Jesse Helms.

6 comments:

Americaneocon said...

What is it with all the lefties ... Helms is dead. Let the guy rest without dancing on his grave.

Sandy Jimenez said...

@Americaneocon:
What is it with all the neocons (who aren't really Conservatives anyway)?... Helms is dead. Can't they finally just admit the plain truth about him?
-I'll proceed to answer my questions and yours, I'll address your question first: Since "lefties" didn't have it in them to apologize or look past someone whose career is distinguished by an almost religous devotion to racism, since Helms has now died without ever recanting or expressing regret for promoting segregation or demonizing anybody who wasn't white, there is nothing to say about this man's legacy other than that IT IS OVER.
Telling the truth isn't "dancing on someone's grave", so stop being a pussy. Every report I've heard about Senator Helms in the hours since his death describes the man as having a "colorful, controversial" career. -Those are euphemisms for the career of an outstanding racial bigot. Senator Helms created his legacy, I didn't, neither did you. You don't want to stare at the truth? Then Don't. Go on telling yourself he was just old fashioned or politically incorrect, or just a good old boy.
The truth is, even if I were a "Conservative" today, I'd hope I'd have the sense to admit the truth about this man and not live in some fantasy land where this guy was just a "old school" politician. The problem with today's "Conservatives" (I'm putting that term in quotes because there are no true Conservatives left in America) is that there's no one who is questioning Bush and Cheney on their reckless spending and incompetence. As for NeoCons, you are all loyal to a single man, and will try anything to adjust the constitution to give President Bush more power and immunity from the legal consequences of his abuses.
I will not mince words here:
You are traitors.
That is why you can look at an honest response to the death of this life long racist and wonder what everybody's problem is.
For the record, I'll support Conservatives when they actually start behaving like conservatives again: reduce government spending; stop bending over for transnational corporations; stop increasing the size of government; stop offering up puppets as candidates for the white house; stay out of everyone's personal lives; stop wasting our time with moral majority nonsense legislation; stop letting jobs go overseas; then I'd gladly support them.
...I imagine it'll be a while before that happens, so I'll celebrate Helm's death in the meantime and wonder why it is that "Conservatives" feel they have to apologize and gloss over this man's legacy.
The truth is, I don't consider Helms a true Conservative, he is a former Democrat who along with many other Nixon-era politicians, hijacked the term. I don't understand why you feel compelled to defend him.
Thanks for reading.
-SJ

Anonymous said...

AMEN.
Thank you for stating this beautifully. I was disgusted by the way the news tiptoed around his racist vitriol. He was a disgusting man, and we are better without him.

Michael Hew said...

I couldn't have said it any better myself. Jesse, when you get to hell, please say hi to Jerry Falwell.

riceroni said...

Please dear God, let there really be a hell. Because if there really IS a hell then Jesse Helms is already consumed by it's lowest depths. He's wailing for eternity with his blood brothers; Adolf, Mao, Stalin and the rest of the worst of the subset of human beings who have crossed from mere mortal to eternal evil. Satanic. Jesse joins his kin, Strom Thurmond, Bull Connor and a host of other vicious racist fucks who have taken it upon themselves to very nearly ruin the core principle that this country was founded upon: equality.

Dale Wilbanks said...

Exquisite, Burn Jesse burn.